I have never been a big fan of parades. I think it comes from Mom making us get up every holiday morning and drag ourselves down to the TV to watch the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Tournament of Roses Parade, etc. Call me un-American, but there is just nothing entertaining to me about watching a parade on TV. I ooh'd and aah'd at the parades on TV to make Mom happy. (Not surprisingly, she loves them.)
For the kids' sakes, we do go to local parades, and they enjoy them. Kyle's high school marching band, in fact, marched in the Tournament of Roses parade a few years back. (It was in California, so we weren't able to join him, but we watched his part on TV.) I've marched as a parent volunteer in parades (smile on my face) with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and to help keep the marching band kids from fainting in the heat. The fire trucks are cool, I admit. The politicians in their classic cars? I could live without them. The floats of wobbly dancers/singers? Mildly entertaining, to me, but hardly worth sitting in the scorching heat for.
As much as I don't live for parades, there is a part of each one that gets my attention and makes me swell with pride and choke back tears (every time); the moment that groups of soldiers in uniform (old and young) pass by.
Because to me, in the midst of the candy throwing, clown car racing, and polka music, those men and women serve as a visual reminder that if not for them, we would not have the freedom to sit on streets lined with maple trees and lawn chairs instead of tanks and burnt-out buildings. It's because of them (and those before them) that we wake up every morning; free to go to school, to drive to work, to play at local parks...
...or attend parades.
So, here's to those who march today (and yesterday),
in parades, or onto battlefields; especially those who gave their lives...
in the name of freedom.
In recognition of Memorial Day, 2009